Srinagar, Dec 11: Children and elderly people are at high risk of falling ill due to bone chilling cold and foggy weather conditions in Kashmir, medical experts have warned.
For the last one week, Kashmir is reeling under intense cold wave conditions. Coupled with thick fog, the situation has led to increase in health complications among the people.
Principal Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar Dr Parvaiz Ahmad Shah, cautioned that toddlers, children and aged people should avoid exposure to cold and wear warm clothes.
“The high risk groups especially people with hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder should not venture out in cold. People with heart diseases are prone to infections in these weather conditions which can cause pneumonia,” he said.
Dr Salim Khan, head department of Community Medicine, GMC, Srinagar, said dust particles, which remain suspended in the air because of fog, can lead to respiratory diseases.
“Patients with underlying symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, bronchitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis are susceptible. People with cardio vascular diseases are also vulnerable in the harsh environmental conditions. They are at high risk of cardiac arrests. Such patients should follow their medication properly and avoid much exposure to cold,” he said.
Dr Khan cautioned parents against overburdening children with heavy clothing. “It can cause more sweating which may be a reason for hypothermia,” he said.
Dr Naveed Ahmad Shah, head department of Chest Medicine at Government Chest Disease Hospital Srinagar, said there is high incidence of illnesses when the temperature dips down.
“The problem can aggravate in patients who have allergic symptoms or suffer from cardio vascular diseases and respiratory ailments as it increases the severity and frequency of attacks,” he said.
Doctors said foggy conditions and inclement weather can also lead to increased stress and anxiety levels among the vulnerable section of society.
“The frequent gloomy weather can increase the stress levels. In foggy conditions, people especially commuters grow increasingly anxious during their travel. They are constantly fearful their vehicles might collide due to poor visibility,” said Dr Junaid Nabi, a psychiatrist.
Medical Superintendent SKIMS Farooq Khan said patient inflow has not increased per se. “We usually witness a high inflow of patients in winter season. The number is the same and there is no significant rise in the number,” he added.